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See also: Trammel


trammel rings (4) used to hang cooking pots


From Middle English trameyle, from Old French tramail (net for catching fish), from Late Latin tremaculum. See Italian tramaglio.


  • IPA(key): /ˈtræməl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æməl


trammel (plural trammels)

  1. Whatever impedes activity, progress, or freedom, such as a net or shackle.
  2. A fishing net that has large mesh at the edges and smaller mesh in the middle
  3. A kind of net for catching birds, fishes, or other prey.
    • 1633,
      1609, Richard Carew, The Survey of Cornwall. [], new edition, London: [] B. Law, []; Penzance, Cornwall: J. Hewett, published 1769, →OCLC:
      The tuck carrieth a like fashion , save that it is narrower meshed , and ( therefore scarce lawful ) with a long bunt in the midst : the trammel differeth not much from the shape of this bunt, and serveth to such use as the wear and haking.
  4. A set of rings or other hanging devices, attached to a transverse bar suspended over a fire, used to hang cooking pots etc.
  5. A net for confining a woman's hair.
  6. A kind of shackle used for regulating the motions of a horse and making it amble.
  7. (engineering) An instrument for drawing ellipses, one part of which consists of a cross with two grooves at right angles to each other, the other being a beam carrying two pins (which slide in those grooves), and also the describing pencil.
  8. A beam compass.



trammel (third-person singular simple present trammels, present participle (UK) trammelling or (US) trammeling, simple past and past participle (UK) trammelled or (US) trammeled)

  1. To entangle, as in a net.
    • 1880, Dante Gabriel Rosetti, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, lines 9–10:
      the scarce-snatched hours
      Which deepening pain left to his lordliest powers: —
      Heaven lost through spider-trammelled prison-bars.
  2. (transitive) To confine; to hamper; to shackle.
    • 1854, Henry David Thoreau, Slavery in Massachusetts:
      In their vote, you would get something of some value, at least, however small; but in the other case, only the trammelled judgment of an individual, of no significance, be it which way it might.
    • 1948, Winston Churchill, The Second World War:
      Virtuous motives, trammeled by inertia and timidity, are no match for armed and resolute wickedness.